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Meet Kamille Corry

Instructor Interview for Course: Florals and Portraits on Gold Oct 24-28 2016

How long have you been teaching art and when did you decide to become an artist?  I started teaching in 1993, I taught privately from 1993 to 2001. In 2002 I opened a proper ‘atelier’ in Salt Lake City, with a full time curriculum that operated 12 months out of the year. In 2013 I stopped teaching full time, (to focus more on painting) and now I teach a few workshops a year.

I knew when I was a small child that I would be an artist. I remember telling people when I was 5 years old that’s what I would be when I grew up. I am so grateful I have parents who are completely supportive of my artistic life and career. They have always encouraged me in whatever way I wanted to pursue my art.

Where did you get your training?
I started at University, where I had a full scholarship in art. When I was in there, I felt that I wasn’t learning anything. It was all about being ‘creative’, without any technical instruction. I just felt very let down, and although I didn’t know what kind of training I wanted, I definitely wanted art classes that challenged me technically, and taught skill based methods.

After a year I decided to pursue my art education in a different direction, and moved to Florence to find an art school. For some reason I knew I could find a school in Italy that would give me a foundation I could expand on for the rest of my life. I ended up meeting D. Jeffrey Mims (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Jeffrey_Mims) there, with whom I studied for 7 years. He is currently the founder and director of the Academy of Classical Design in North Carolina. I also studied briefly at Cecil-Graves (now Cecil Studios, and The Florence Academy of Art) Charles Cecil and Daniel Graves are fantastic teachers, and their ateliers in Florence are some of the best places for a student to train in the realist, or classical tradition.

What inspired you about Mimm's work? I was inspired by Mims’ work for many reasons, but primarily because he worked from nature, not photographs. He knew the anatomy of the figure inside and out, and was so knowledgeable about composition and design in art history. When I met him in Florence years ago, he was preparing to do a large mural for a church in the U.S. I was able to go through the entire process with him - from the bozzetti in oil, to the drawing studies, and working on ornamental design in the border around the mural. The first canvas I ever stretched was his 10’ x 10’ linen for this mural. I got in depth critiques on my work while I was in Florence, and he was such a good teacher that he was able to humble me (I thought I could draw back then) and inspire me at the same time. Being in Florence during the beginning years of my studies with him was absolutely incredible.

Tell us what it was like studying under a master in a more personal setting as opposed to in an academy I must say that Mimms is one of the best teachers out there for a classically based training. I feel like I got a much more solid training from him that I could have at any university program or official art school. There is more access to the instructor, and most of all you are able to watch their work in progress, and possibly paint alongside them.

What do you like about teaching art? The most wonderful thing about teaching is how much I learned over the years. It really deepens ones’ understanding of concepts and techniques when you have to teach it to others. I always love the energy of students - it constantly pushes me to grow, seeing them strive to excel. It doesn’t matter at what level you’re learning, the quest for knowledge is a lifetime endeavor and being in that environment where everyone is excited to take on new challenges is very rewarding.

What is your favorite medium/ subject matter?
I work in oils when I paint - it is so luminous. I love the viscosity of the paint, the way you can push and pull it, and the way it allows your work to evolve if needed. The figure/portrait is the most challenging subject — and I also feel the most expressive. So the work I get the most excited about is always figurative. But I absolutely love ornamental design, and my goal is to incorporate more of this into my figurative work in the future. Geometric and arabesque designs and gold leaf work with patterns are so incredibly beautiful to me, that sometimes I am as moved when I see that, as I am standing in front of a Michelangelo sculpture. Finding ways to combine both figurative and ornamental design has been a long time passion of mine, and will probably always continue to inspire me.

What is a common difficulty beginning students encounter with portrait painting? Correct drawing! Outside of that, learning to handle the paint is probably the biggest hurdle.

We look forward to having Kamille in the studio to help us to learn better drawing practices and how to handle paint!

Our studio in Florence:
Via della Scala 11 (near Piazza Santa Maria Novella)
50123 Firenze


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